The Meaning and Facts Behind Wedding Rings
People have been exchanging rings as a feature of their wedding festivities since Ancient Egyptian times, when the circle was viewed as a symbol of eternity. The Romans gave us the idea of wearing the wedding band on the “ring finger,” as they believed it was connected to the heart via the “vein amoris,” or vein of love.
Today, the wedding ring is an integral part of marriage in all religions and societies, as it symbolizes adoration, responsibility, commitment, and family bonds.
Yellow gold was the metal of choice for several decades. Today, other metals are making their way into wedding ring designs because of their physical properties and fashion appeal. Platinum and rose gold are becoming more common choices. Alternative metals such as tungsten and titanium are swiftly gaining popularity as well.
Picking a Metal
Gold: Gold is a highly valuable metal that has been used in wedding bands since 560 BCE. Societies throughout the world understand gold's value as a pure, beautiful, and valuable metal. Gold of 24 carats is the most concentrated gold available; however, it is too soft to make into rings. For a combination of durability and affordability, 10k, 14k and 18k are the most desirable karat types. The alloys in gold rings create a harder, more scratch-resistant band. However, these increased alloys can cause tarnishing over time.
White Gold: White gold rings are coated with rhodium, an element even more precious than gold itself. This gives an ultra white appearance. The white gold ring holds the various other properties of gold, including its weight, and looks particularly beautiful if adorned with jewels or stones.
Rose Gold: Rose gold is another blend of gold that uses copper alloys to achieve a reddish tone. The copper color comes through and makes the metal look considerably more pink than a standard gold band. It has the same weight on the finger, which many individuals like. Rose gold complements many skin tones, and has been increasing in popularity within the last few years.
Palladium: Palladium is a white metal that is used within the automotive industry and more recently for jewelry applications. This metal was once touted as the affordable alternative to platinum, but that is no longer the case. Prices for palladium have risen to record-breaking highs within the last year.
Platinum: Platinum is getting more popular as it is exceptionally hard and sturdy, representing eternal love. The white-colored metal is also scratch-resistant and will keep a beautiful appearance over time.
Ceramic: A modern choice, the name "ceramic" may call to mind pottery or dinnerware. However, ceramic rings are created from titanium carbide, making them lightweight and hypoallergenic. Ceramic rings are the same color all the way through, so they are less likely to show scratches. These rings are also non-conductive, making them an attractive option for people who work with electricity.
Tungsten: Tungsten is a steel-colored metal that must be mixed with other alloys in order to be made into a ring. Tungsten carbide made from 85% tungsten and 15% nickel is the superior formula versus that which is made with cobalt. It's extremely difficult to scratch, and it won't discolor or tarnish, so it has a long-lasting shine. It's this quality and strength that is making tungsten more popular as a wedding ring metal as its properties are powerfully symbolic of a good marriage. Tungsten rings are a light gray color by default, but can be coated so they are white, black, yellow or pink-toned. It should be noted that while scratch-resistant, tungsten rings can shatter if dropped on a hard surface. Due to its brittle nature, tungsten rings cannot be traditionally resized, but much like titanium, better brands will offer size exchanges.
Titanium: Due to its nearly unbreakable strength yet lightweight feel, titanium is used for the likes of aeronautics and surgical implants in addition to being a durable jewelry option. Titanium's characteristics contrast steeply with gold. It's a gray metal mixed with alloys that are amazingly dense as well as hypoallergenic. Since it's so hard, resizing a titanium ring is not possible. Most reputable brands, such as Thorsten Rings, offer a warranty so that you can exchange your ring for the correct size.
Cobalt: Cobalt chrome has many of the qualities of tungsten and titanium. It is less brittle than tungsten, but not quite as scratch-resistant. Uncoated cobalt rings are naturally a white color, making them an excellent alternative to platinum or palladium.
Silicone: An unconventional choice, silicone wedding bands are increasing in popularity. Virtually unbreakable and non-conductive, they are a great choice for athletes, electricians or anyone else who works with their hands. Brands such as QALO make silicone bands that mimic the appearance of metal, so that it is not apparent you are wearing a rubber ring.
Picking the Right Band for You
Each material type has advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to weigh out your options when choosing your band. When purchasing a wedding band, many people do so as a surprise. However, buying wedding rings is something you can and should do together with your partner. Ideally, it helps if you begin looking for the ring at least a couple of months before the wedding since this will allow you to search, take a careful look at anything that gets your attention and try on different models, which may change your perspective. Some metal types and styles have a manufacturing time, so getting as early of a start as possible is recommended.
In terms of budgets, most jewelers will tell you that wedding bands should cost a month's pay or more; however, that’s not an actual rule! Affordable wedding bands are certainly available. Also, if you are both going to have wedding bands, you should get them for each other, instead of purchasing one on your own.
Some people feel that your wedding bands should coordinate with each other in their metal and shape, as they see this as a reflection of your partnership and relationship. Others feel that the shape and style of a wedding band should reflect their partner’s taste since that’s who will be wearing it forever. Another factor is the respective size of your hands and length of your fingers, as a band that looks fantastic on a large hand may seem out of place on a small one, and vice versa.
Also, while you're shopping, take a look at wedding rings while wearing your engagement ring. If an engagement ring has elaborate shapes or a large setting for a stone, you’ll need to use care in finding a compatible wedding band. You may need to look for one with a bend or notch to accommodate your engagement ring and fit snuggly on your finger.
Comfort Fit vs. Standard Fit
Most modern metal bands are comfort fit, meaning they are curved on the inside. This means less of the ring touches your finger while wearing, making for a more comfortable experience. Comfort fit rings also cause less friction over the knuckle. Due to their shape, comfort fit rings tend to fit slightly larger. If you are sized as a quarter size, for example, 10.75, you would most likely wear a comfort fit size 10.5 ring. This does vary due to hand and knuckle size. Standard fit rings are flat on the inside, so the entire interior of the ring will touch your finger. Many precious metal rings are standard fit.
Picking the Right Band Width
The width of the wedding band is entirely dependent on personal preference. If you’ve always loved big, weighty rings, then go with that. If narrow, delicate rings are your taste, follow that direction. The only thing to consider apart from your personal preference are practical concerns. A very slim, dainty band could possibly become damaged with rough daily use. For those with short fingers, a very wide band could limit mobility and hand usage.
If you need to have your wedding ring engraved, it is essential to pick a ring that is at least two millimeters wide, as the lettering can't be made any smaller than that. When a ring is this small, the text itself is practically unreadable without the help of a loupe or magnifying glass.
Do You Want Stones for Your Wedding Ring?
Precious stone settings are a completely personal decision, and if you like the added sparkle, then you can surely opt for them. While white diamonds are a traditional choice, other colors of diamonds can be used as well. Black diamonds, in particular, give an elegant added element that is unconventional yet timeless. Gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and topaz are also interesting choices that will make your ring unique.
Wedding Rings Should be as Unique as your Union
At the end of the day, the perfect wedding ring will always be a matter of taste. What works best for you and your significant other may not work for another couple. Even though the thousands of choices can be daunting, you can rest assured that there is something out there for everyone.